The Duggar family and its offshoots are never far from controversy, and one in-law in particular is especially good at drawing the internet's ire. The latest bout of outrage was caused by Derick Dillard's Instagram of his son building "The Wall," which many complain isn't a very Christian thing to post. Isreal Dillard, son of Derick and Jill, just turned 3 last month, and his father shared a photo of him posing innocently beside a stack of alphabet blocks and a plastic construction vehicle with the incendiary caption, "Israel helping Trump build 'The Wall'" followed by a string of emoji and a halfhearted "lol." But his followers aren't laughing.
"Why would you teach your child that!?" one person commented. "That's ridiculous!" Another questioned Dillard, "For real though.. you're a strong Christian so shouldn't you be 'Christ like'?" There's plenty of debate in the comment section on whether the Bible's teachings support constructing a wall to keep people out, but one thing most people seem to agree on is that regardless of his politics, Dillard's choice to use his toddler to promote them is completely inappropriate. Whether or not Israel has any idea what "The Wall" is, his image is still being linked to it, and not by choice. Dillard did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
What's particularly ironic is that Israel spent the first two years of his life living in Central America, among the very people that Trump's proposed border wall is meant to exclude from his own country. This point wasn't lost on fans, either; one Instagram user laid it all out there:
Are you serious?! Didn't you live in Central America idiot? Or was that trip just to add a little interest to your boring lives so you could get more viewers for your show. People are dying. Families are being torn apart, mothers and fathers are being deported. You're a fake Christian if you support anything Trump stands for.
On the family's website, Derick wrote about how, on a trip to El Salvador as a teenager, he "saw the poverty and hopelessness a lot of people there were experiencing," which inspired him to learn Spanish and return to the area in order to "share the gospel of Jesus Christ." The family has since discontinued their donor-funded trips south of the border amid scrutiny regarding their use of the funds.
"How about we leave the judging up to the Lord?" another Instagram comment read, pointing out that most interpretations of the Bible don't exactly jibe with shutting down borders. Some got very specific, citing whole verses to support their arguments:
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Galatians 5:14
"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt." Leviticus 19:33-34. I really thought you was a Christian Derick Dillard
And while some people believe that religion and politics should be kept separate, Dillard certainly isn't one of those. He made that clear in his blog post, "Should Religion Inform Your Politics?" published just a week before the photo of Israel, in which he posits that abstaining from voting may be a sin. "God will hold us accountable for what we did with what we had, and I want to strive to hear my Lord say 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"
But does his God want him to use his child's image for that purpose? Some certainly don't think so. "I can't believe this is what you are teaching your children!" one person commented. Another added, "That poor kid. How dare you brainwash an innocent child with your xenophobia. Shame on you!" With any luck, the child will grow to develop some critical thinking skills and make up his own mind about politics. I wonder what he'll say about this post in 10 or 20 years.